Vascular architecture mapping for early detection of glioblastoma recurrence

Andreas Stadlbauer, Ilker Eyüpoglu, Michael Buchfelder, Arnd Dörfler, Max Zimmermann, Gertraud Heinz, Stefan Oberndorfer

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

13 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Treatment failure and inevitable tumor recurrence are the main reasons for the poor prognosis of glioblastoma (GB). Gross-total resection at repeat craniotomy for GB recurrence improves patient overall survival but requires early and reliable detection. It is known, however, that even advanced MRI approaches have limited diagnostic performance for distinguishing tumor progression from pseudoprogression. The novel MRI technique of vascular architectural mapping (VAM) provides deeper insight into tumor microvascularity and neovascularization. In this study the authors evaluated the usefulness of VAM for the monitoring of GB patients and quantitatively analyzed the features of neovascularization of early- and progressed-stage GB recurrence.

METHODS: In total, a group of 115 GB patients who received overall 374 follow-up MRI examinations after standard treatment were retrospectively evaluated in this study. The clinical routine MRI (cMRI) protocol at 3 Tesla was extended with the authors' experimental VAM approach, requiring 2 minutes of extra time for data acquisition. Custom-made MATLAB software was used for calculation of imaging biomarker maps of macrovascular perfusion from perfusion cMRI as well as of microvascular perfusion and architecture from VAM data. Additionally, cMRI data were analyzed by two board-certified radiologists in consensus. Statistical procedures included receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis to determine diagnostic performances for GB recurrence detection.

RESULTS: Overall, cMRI showed GB recurrence in 89 patients, and in 28 of these patients recurrence was detected earlier with VAM data, by 1 (20 patients) or 2 (8 patients) follow-up examinations, than with cMRI data. The mean time difference between recurrence detection with VAM and cMRI data was 147 days. During this time period the mean tumor volume increased significantly (p < 0.001) from 9.7 to 26.8 cm3. Quantitative analysis of imaging biomarkers demonstrated microvascular but no macrovascular hyperperfusion in early GB recurrence. Therefore, ROC analysis revealed superior diagnostic performance for VAM compared with cMRI.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that the targeted assessment of microvascular features using the VAM technique provided valuable information about early neovascularization activity in recurrent GB that is complementary to perfusion cMRI and may be helpful for earlier and more precise monitoring of patients suffering from GB. This VAM approach is compatible with existing cMRI protocols. Prospective clinical trials are necessary to investigate the clinical usefulness and potential benefit of increased overall survival with the use of VAM in patients with recurrent GB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalNeurosurgical Focus
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2019


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Area Under Curve
  • Brain Neoplasms/blood supply
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Cranial Irradiation
  • Craniotomy
  • Disease Progression
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glioblastoma/blood supply
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography/methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/blood supply
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic/diagnostic imaging
  • ROC Curve
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • MRI
  • Glioblastoma
  • Vascular architecture
  • Neovascularization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Surgery


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